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Joyce S. Dubensky
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As the Tanenbaum Center’s CEO, Joyce Dubensky has directed significant programmatic expansion, adding new initiatives to each of Tanenbaum’s four core programs: Religion and Diversity Education, Religious Diversity in the Workplace, Religious Diversity in Health Care and Religion and Conflict Resolution. Ms. Dubensky’s dynamic leadership has transformed Tanenbaum from a well-regarded U.S. institution to an internationally recognized thought leader.

Ms. Dubensky has overseen the publication of many firsts: the first comprehensive toolkit on religious diversity for workplace managers (Religion in the Workplace: A Traveler’s Guide to Navigating the Complex Landscape), the first comprehensive resource for providing quality care in a diverse healthcare setting (The Medical Manual for Religio-Cultural Competency) and the first book collecting the compelling life stories and teachings of the grassroots religious peacemakers identified by Tanenbaum’s Religion & Conflict Resolution program (Peacemakers in Action: Profiles of Religion in Conflict Resolution). Each of these publications represents a new contribution to the burgeoning field of interreligious understanding.

Internationally in demand as a speaker and trainer, Ms. Dubensky speaks, trains and conducts workshops on all Tanenbaum programs including at the Alliance of Civilizations, International Academy of Practical Theology, Merck, the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute and the Sixth National Conference on Quality Care for Diverse Populations.

Before joining Tanenbaum, Ms. Dubensky was with the National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ), an inter-group relations organization founded in 1927 as the National Conference of Christians and Jews, where she was the national Director of Communications and, later, the Deputy Executive Director of a regional office.

As an attorney, Ms. Dubensky served as a National Consultant for the Council of Jewish Federations (now United Jewish Communities). She also created the Legal Department at the United Jewish Appeal-Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of New York and served as its General Counsel for over ten years. There, she co-chaired the organization’s task force on diversity issues, and worked to develop and implement successful governance, fund development and advocacy strategies. Ms. Dubensky began her legal career with the law firm of Botein Hays Sklar and Herzberg, following her years as a foster care caseworker with the New York Foundling Hospital.

Ms. Dubensky holds her J.D. from New York University School of Law, where she graduated with honors, and has a Master’s degree in American History from Adelphi University. Currently, she serves on the Board of Advisors for the Center Against Violence in the Family.

Entries by Joyce S. Dubensky

Lessons from Wheaton College

(12) Comments | Posted February 19, 2016 | 9:27 AM

The very public drama that unfolded at Wheaton College over the past few months revealed stark divisions within the evangelical community, and how they view the responsibility for living in Christ's footsteps. Even more poignantly, it revealed some truths about more widespread societal divides that ripple far beyond Wheaton.

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Yes, I Am Afraid

(12) Comments | Posted December 10, 2015 | 9:32 AM

I am afraid. As someone who has devoted my life to respecting and urging others to respect differences, I find these to be dark days. Days that leave me frightened.

Yes, I am frightened of random acts of terror perpetrated by people who claim the mantle of Islam.

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Conscientious Refusals: A Question of Behavior, Not Belief

(15) Comments | Posted September 16, 2015 | 3:56 PM

Protesters for and against marriage equality continue to be heard in Rowan County, Kentucky as county clerk Kim Davis returned to work. Released from jail after her arrest for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, Ms. Davis was freed on the condition that she would not interfere with...

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Amnesty UK -- Help Us to Understand

(0) Comments | Posted May 13, 2015 | 3:25 PM

Anti-Semitism in the UK is rising. Violence, desecration and abuse has gripped families and communities. In its 2014 report, The Community Security Trust in the UK reported the highest number of anti-Semitic incidents it has ever recorded. In London, the Metropolitan police recorded a 137 percent rise in...

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When Vaisakhi Is More Than a Holiday

(3) Comments | Posted April 29, 2015 | 6:42 PM

Have you ever wished someone a happy Vaisakhi?

Most people have no idea that the Pentagon is holding a major celebration to celebrate Vaisakhi. Or that Vaisakhi is the birthday of the world's fifth largest religion. Why? Because the Sikh community as a whole, is often ignored in this country....

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When Core Values Clash -- Start with Civility

(0) Comments | Posted April 6, 2015 | 4:47 PM

If you just celebrated a religious holiday this weekend, and even if you didn't, chances are that you were discussing what the Indiana, Arkansas and other Religious Freedom Restorations Acts (RFRA) across the country really mean.

Depending on who was with you, they probably had an opinion. Some are...

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Memories of Selma - All of Them

(0) Comments | Posted March 20, 2015 | 7:07 PM

On March 21, 1965, a diverse group of civil rights activists stood with Martin Luther King, Jr. to begin the third and finally successful march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. As such, it is part of this month's many remembrances of Selma and "Bloody Sunday." But it is more than...

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Charlie Hebdo -- More Than a Deadly Assault on Speech

(1) Comments | Posted January 9, 2015 | 4:26 PM

Make no mistake. The Paris attack on Charlie Hebdo was not only about death, terror and free speech. It was also an attack on freedom of religion -- and not just in France.

Most commentators have been talking about the obvious. This horrific act of violence was a testament...

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50 Years Later, the Challenge Continues...

(0) Comments | Posted July 1, 2014 | 5:19 PM

Several years ago, soon after Tanenbaum began addressing religious bias in the health care industry, I visited a large, full-service medical center/teaching hospital to meet with a group of directors about our work. The meeting was fruitful, and it was clear that the hospital was committed to providing religio-culturally competent...

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Hobby Lobby: A Myriad of Consequences

(5) Comments | Posted June 30, 2014 | 5:00 PM

Today the Supreme Court issued its decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.

The decision effectively permits the deeply held religious beliefs of Hobby Lobby CEO and founder David Green and his wife to be institutionalized as corporate policy. As such, this decision supports their personal beliefs but...

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Setting the Bar Too Low: Duck Dynasty and Tolerance

(9) Comments | Posted January 14, 2014 | 10:34 AM

Phil Robertson returns to TV this week in the premier of Duck Dynasty Season 5. Across the media, commentators are discussing his conflation of homosexuality and bestiality, debating his condemnation of homosexuality, and contesting his comments about the black community during the pre-civil rights era. They're also talking about how...

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Remembering Nelson Mandela

(0) Comments | Posted December 9, 2013 | 7:41 AM

I did not know Nelson Mandela nor did I work with him -- but I can safely say the whole world is mourning the loss of one of the world's great leaders.

After 27 years in prison, Mandela helped bring an end to apartheid in South Africa,...

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Religion at Work: Who's Listening?

(36) Comments | Posted September 17, 2013 | 5:03 PM

Recently, with appropriate fanfare, we acknowledged the 50 year anniversary of the March on Washington. Many of us paused to consider that pivotal event and what it means to America today. There were numerous public discussions on how far we have come in race relations, how far we need to...

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Finding Hope in Syria

(1) Comments | Posted June 10, 2013 | 2:40 PM

Among the privileges of my work is to know Tanenbaum's Peacemakers in Action. They are a group of rugged individuals, driven by faith, who seek peace and freedom in lands torn by war and violence. They work alone and periodically convene to learn, plan and plot interventions for peace...

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Papal Potential: What Will Be Pope Francis' Legacy?

(12) Comments | Posted March 19, 2013 | 10:30 AM

The world is watching as the Catholic Church embarks on a new era with its 266th leader, Pope Francis. Much is being written about this man as he steps onto the world stage. Stories detail how he has lived his faith as a servant of the poor. Others examine his...

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Overnight in Nashville

(2) Comments | Posted November 29, 2012 | 9:57 AM

The Sunday before Thanksgiving, I visited communities that I only knew from stories in the newspaper: Murfreesboro, recently recognized for the controversy around its new mosque, and nearby Nashville. I came as a stranger, took a journey that included despair and hope, and left inspired by new friends.


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Violent Acts Leave Some Thankful for Their Lives

(0) Comments | Posted November 21, 2012 | 4:57 PM

This is a week for reflection and gratitude and many of us have much to be thankful for -- notwithstanding conflicts, including those in Israel and Gaza, and Hurricane Sandy's devastation.

Unfortunately, some of our neighbors are grateful just to be alive -- not because of natural disasters but...

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Tragedy and Trends: Sikh Slaughter Is Part of Global Phenomenon

(264) Comments | Posted August 7, 2012 | 4:23 PM

As information about the tragic attack in Wisconsin unfolded, people across the globe were shaken, saddened and moved by a sense of solidarity with the targeted Sikh community. What too many do not know, though, is that this is not an isolated occurrence. No matter your religion, if you are...

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The Real Muslim Problem

(94) Comments | Posted May 29, 2012 | 11:19 AM

There's lots of talk about the "Muslim Problem" in the U.S. and abroad. Generally, I find that framing troubling. But recently some very ordinary experiences made me realize that there actually is what I can only call the real Muslim problem.

As I was driving to work on a recent...

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The Global War Against Christians: Fallacy or Reality?

(44) Comments | Posted February 21, 2012 | 4:29 PM

Ayaan Hirsi Ali is an atheist. Many people think this defines her, but it is only part of her story. Ali is also an intelligent and textured individual, with a distinct and rich set of experiences and identities that shape her and her attitudes. Too often, atheists like Ali are...

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